E y e s   o n  t h e   F o r e s t 
A  M o n t h l y   B u l l e t i n   f r o m   B o r n e o - D e c e m b e r  2 0 1 3

eyes in the forest

The Holidays are a Time for Family & Friends

Many of us take extra care during the holiday season to appreciate and spend time with our families and loved ones. As social beings, most people thrive on reaffirming and strengthening these important bonds.


For orangutans, there is no bond more important than the one between mother and child. These private apes, who are so different from gregarious humans, gorillas and chimpanzees in their semi-solitary habits, share a mother-infant bond unparalleled in the animal kingdom. 


Infant orangutans are fragile and helpless, and depend on their mothers for everything in the first few years of their lives. Babies will hardly ever let go of their tight grip on their mother's long hair. In turn, the devoted mothers nurse their single offspring for up to 8 years, protecting them from the dangers of the forest and slowly introducing weaning foods.


 Weaning a young orangutan is no easy feat: orangutans eat over 400 types of wild food items in the forest, and in the super-diverse and unpredictable Bornean jungle, finding and identifying edible foods is a lesson that takes many years to learn. 



An orangutan mother carries her child at her side, while the youngster learns by watching his mom, sampling from her hands and mouth, memorizing characteristics of fruiting trees, and learning the ropes of wild orangutan-hood.


In today's tough world for orangutans, this life-sustaining bond is often shattered by palm oil development and its after-effects. Orangutan mothers may suffer a slow death by starvation when their forest homes are cleared for plantations, and the survivors who wander into palm oil operations are often killed by plantation workers. The adorable, orphaned infants are taken away and either sold as pets to local families, smuggled into the global black market, or handed over to forestry authorities with no explanation. That is how most of OFI's orangutans come into our care.


To protect the precious bond between mother and baby orangutan, we need do nothing more than allow them free and safe passage in their own homeland. Their instinctual love and caring will ensure a continuation of their ancient lineage of "forest people". While it may not be easy to save forest in Borneo, given the enormous pressures we face from palm oil and other threats, there seems no better reason to try than to give orangutan families a chance to stay together.


When we sit down with our friends and families around us this holiday season, all of us at OFI will turn some of our thoughts towards the silent, but no less significant, bond between our orange-haired cousins in the rainforest. We hope you may do the same.


Janie Dubman




  • In this Issue
  • Orangutan of the Month: Congo
  • News from the Field: Featured Employee, Ibu Mariyanti
  • TWEET from the field: Baby orangutan rescued
  • Conservation Partners: Nursery Forest in Honor of Danielle St-Georges
  • Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas 

of the Month: Congo
Congo is a big guy with a big personality. Follow him in his long journey from orphan to promising young adult. Click on his image above to read more.
Great Holiday Gift Ideas!

There's still time to 
receive your beautiful 
e-Foster Kit or 
e-Land Certificate!
They make perfect gifts, from your heart to theirs!
(Click on images below)


Featured Employee: 

Ibu Mariyanti - Heart & Soul of Enrichment at OFI

Click on image above to meet Ibu Mariyanti -- a dedicated staff person with orangutan welfare as her mission.


TWEET from the Field




This baby--the Care Center and Quarantine's most recent arrival--will need our care for many years. Click here to learn more.  Click here to follow Dr. Galidkas on Twitter.



Conservation Partners


The Promise of a New Nursery Forest is a Gift from the Heart 
(Danielle St-Georges, Borneo, 2011) Danielle's deep love of orangutans inspired a kind and generous legacy gift.
In honor of Danielle St-Georges, who passed away on July 18, 2013, OFI has partnered with Jeremy Nash, Danielle's fiancÚ, to raise $35,000 by December 31, 2013 to build and equip a new Nursery Forest. Jeremy is so close to reaching his goal!

Located at OFI's Care Center, this recreational Nursery Forest is for OFI's youngest orangutan orphans and will feature a large, covered play area, swings, climbing equipment, and other enrichment apparatus. It is truly a very special, heartfelt gift for which OFI is so very grateful.

 Read more from Jeremy's touching letter, and learn how you can help him raise the remaining funds in honor of his beloved Danielle.  
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Orangutans Need You! 

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Thank you very much for  following "Eyes on the Forest - Bulletin from Borneo". From now on you can expect this eNewsletter to reach your mailbox monthly.  We'd love to have your thoughts
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